It would be illegal for the Chair of the Electoral Commission to use her discretion to withhold and recount results of the December 7 presidential election should a first count show the results to be too close to call, a former Deputy Second Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye, has said.
According to the former Dome Kwabenya MP, it would be unconstitutional for Mrs Charlotte Osei to do so.
Mrs Osei, who first made the point about recounting at her discretion during an interview with the BBC, reiterated the point when she interacted with some editors in Accra on Thursday.
According to her, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”, adding: “…At the discretion of the Returning Officer, if we think that it is too close, maybe one-vote difference, two-vote difference, it is safer for you to finish and then do it all over again to just check, that’s all we are saying.”
She insists doing so is in line with international best practice.
However, Prof Ocquaye, who chairs the Legal and Constitutional Committee of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, said doing so would amount to flouting the law.
“A court order is the only process by which, now by regulation 46, you can go ahead and then recount. …The EC boss cannot suo moto – by herself, or himself – break the seal [and say]: ‘I’m going to do a recount.’ It amounts to an illegality and the moment she decides to do so, somebody will go to court because it will be arbitrary, it is never done in this country. It is has never been done before,” he stated.